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Billington posts pre-tax profit increase of 111 per cent as operating margins improve

Structural steel specialist Billington has posted a 111 per cent boost in pre-tax profit in its strongest results for four years.

In its latest results, Billington posted a pre-tax profit of £1.9m for 2014, up from £0.9m a year earlier. Revenue also grew, rising from £39.4m in 2013 to £45.1m in 2014.

Operating margins not including redundancy costs improved to 4.3 per cent, compared to 2.4 per cent in 2013.

The return to profit represents a significant rebound following a £200,000 loss in its previous set of results.

The group has now completed a major restructuring programme, after around a quarter of jobs at the firm were cut following financial difficulties.

Redundancy costs of £20,000 were expended in the year, following £209,000 in 2013.

The group’s Peter Marshall Steel Stairs subsidiary, which was acquired in March 2011, posted a profit for the first time since its acquisition, following a management restructure in late 2013.

Cash and cash equivalents for the year stood at £3.9m as of 31 December 2014, up from £2.6m a year earlier.

Cash generated by operating activities stood at £2.6m, while capital expenditure was £1.3m.

The level of capital expenditure is up from £0.4m in the previous year and reflects a machinery upgrade for Billington Structures as well as expenditure on hire stock for hoard-it, the group’s hoarding division.

Billington also announced a change in senior management, with Steve Fareham (pictured) stepping down from his role as group chief executive on 31 December 2014.

Mr Fareham, who had been with the company since 1968, will continue as a non-executive director.

His replacement is Mark Smith, who joined the company from William Hare in June 2014.

Commenting on the results, Mr Smith said: “The company has achieved a strong set of results for the year, with each division contributing positively – Billington Structures has delivered a particularly encouraging performance, with its strongest order book in a long time.

“I am also very pleased that the group is now in a position to resume paying a dividend to shareholders, for the first time since 2010.

“As market conditions continue to improve, Billington remains well-placed to benefit from the opportunities and growing demand in the sector.

“The group’s strong financial footing, quality product offering and talented, growing team, all mean that we are in a good position to build on this momentum and move into the next phase of our expansion.”

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